Tunica-Biloxi Tribe and Paragon Casino Resort Support Avoyelles Community Through $527,000 Contribution and Backpack Donation

Marksville, LA. – (Sept. 9, 2021) The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana’s Tribal Council recently made two donations to Avoyelles Parish that will continue to benefit the local community. The first being Paragon Casino Resort’s contribution of $527,000 to the Avoyelles Parish Police Jury through their quarterly disbursement and the second is a donation of 200 backpacks to the Avoyelles Parish School Board.

“The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe is proud to continue to work with our Avoyelles Parish community through our mutually-beneficial partnership,” said Tunica-Biloxi Chairman Marshall Pierite. “The Tribe is delighted to continue to improve the community and these donations to the Avoyelles Parish School Board and other local groups will certainly help better the lives of Tribal citizens and all members of the community.”

The Tribe was able to make the financial contribution to Avoyelles Parish due to the success of Paragon Casino Resort, which is owned by the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe. Since Paragon Casino Resort opened its doors 26 years ago, the Tribe has been able to provide financial support to local entities through quarterly distributions. The Police Jury will disperse these funds to local law enforcement, the Avoyelles Parish School Board, and local municipalities.

“We are grateful for our relationship with the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe,” said Police Jury President Kirby Roy. “When the Tribe succeeds, we all succeed thanks to the impact that they have on the surrounding community. We look forward to this continued partnership and the shared benefit it brings.”

To support the community as the new school year begins, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe also donated 200 backpacks to the Avoyelles Parish Public School Board for local children in need. The backpacks will help to ensure that local students have what they need to succeed during this upcoming school year.

“Going back to school can be challenging for kids, especially when they do not have the supplies and resources that their classmates have,” said Thelma Pratter, Interim Avoyelles Parish School Board Superintendent. “We are so grateful for the Tribe for recognizing this and making an effort to set our local students up for success.” 

Watching Ida: Paragon Rooms for Citizens

Following the latest developments with Tropical Storm Ida, we wanted to share several updates with you on accommodations and resources that are available to you. As mentioned previously, we encourage those in its path to reach out with any needs.
Impacts from the storm are expected starting on Saturday, August 28. We continue to watch the track and the storm’s progress. We hope that you and your families are taking all of the necessary precautions to prepare.


For your safety, we have reserved a block of rooms at Paragon Casino Resort, free of charge for Tribal citizens who live in the path of the storm. Rooms will be available from Sunday, August 29 to Tuesday, August 31. 

If you and your family are in need of a safe place to stay during the storms, we have included instructions below on our process for reserving a room. These rooms will be assigned on a first come first served basis and Tribal citizens will be asked for their Tribal role number when booking. If your group is larger than four people, you will be allowed to book a second room. Please note, these rooms are intended for Tribal citizens only.

n addition to making shelter arrangements, we encourage all of our Tribal citizens to follow advisories from state and local officials as well as the National Weather Service and make the necessary preparations to shelter in place including stocking up on food, water and supplies. For recommended hurricane preparations, click here
Please also check-in on any Tribal elders or family members that might need assistance with these preparations.

We also advise that our Tribal citizens continue to take precautions to protect your health amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For the latest information on COVID-19, visit the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) website and the CDC website.

Additionally, we are here for those who will be impacted by these weather events. If you or your family are in need, we ask that you fill out this form to apply for assistance through our Catastrophic Relief Fund.

We are in this together and will get through these difficult times. As we continue our response to Tropical Storm Ida and any other severe weather events through the remainder of the year, we encourage all of you to reach out to the Tribal Council with any needs you might have. Your health and safety is our top priority.

To apply for a room in the Tunica-Biloxi evacuation block at Paragon Casino Resort, we ask that you fill out the form linked below. This will help us to better prepare for your visit and accommodate those in need in an efficient way. As a reminder, these rooms are for Tunica-Biloxi citizens only. 

Apply for a room at Paragon.

Tunica-Biloxi citizens are also welcome to call to request a room at Paragon. Please have your tribal role numbers prepared. 

To request a room, please call the Tribe’s Social Service Department at 318-240-6444 or 318-240-6455.

Meet your new CMO: Dr. Mays!

We are pleased to introduce Dr. Dana Mays to the Tunica-Biloxi community. Dr. Mays stepped into the role of Chief Medical Officer on February 1, 2021 and has already made a huge impact on Tribal citizens and employees. 

Dr. Mays, along with Dr. Webb, and all of our healthcare employees, have done an excellent job of keeping our community safe and healthy through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I’d like to personally thank all of our Tunica-Biloxi healthcare workers for keeping our community healthy and safe always, but especially during this pandemic. We are grateful for you all every day, and are excited to add Dr. Mays to this first-class team.” – Chairman Marshall Pierite

“My new work with the Tribe is both exciting and in line with what I’ve always practiced – allowing my patients to have better primary care that supports the whole body: physically, mentally, spiritually, and any other needs they may have,” Dr. Mays commented. “This is a wonderful opportunity and I look forward to continuing to offer top notch medical care to those friends and neighbors throughout my community.”

In her most recent role, Dr. Mays provided contracted physician services to the central Louisiana community through her practice, Yapha MD, offering personalized, high-quality, accessible care from a kind and loving family physician. Dr. Mays will continue to operate her clinic in Pineville, LA in addition to her work with the Tribe

The Tunica-Biloxi health department strives to provide quality and professional healthcare to all of our members and their families on a personal level. The care provided by Dr. Mays and her team is critical in both preventing and addressing any medical concerns Tribal citizens may have and to promote a healthy lifestyle and general overall wellness.  

To make an appointment with a member of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribal Health Center, please call (318) 240-6435. 

Welcome our new teachers!

We are excited to announce the addition of three new Academic Counselors to the Education Department! Antonio Brown, stationed in the Chicago branch office, provides support to families in the Illinoi Group, Julie Zahn, stationed at the American Indian Center of Houston, supports families in the Texas group and Leslie Carmouche, stationed in Marksville, supports students (grades K-5) in the Louisiana Group. Please join us in welcoming these teachers to our community.

They will be reaching out to parents and students soon!

Lapuya ‘Akawitiki (Welcome)!!!!

An Update on HR 4913

Tunica-Biloxi Applauds the Introduction of HR 4913 by Congresswoman Julia Letlow (R-Louisiana)

The Tribal Council of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana wishes to thank Congresswoman Iulia Letlow for introducing HR 4913 on behalf of the Tribe. HR 4913 is also sponsored by Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee (D-Texas). HR 4913 would expand the service area of the Tribe to include Harris and Brazoria Counties in Texas to enable to the Tribe to be able to use its purchase/referred care funds from the Indian Health Service to be able to help to provide healthcare to the Tribe’s citizens living in the Houston, Texas area. It is vital that the Tribe be able to do this during a global pandemic. Chairman Marshall Pierite said “Tunica-Biloxi has worked tirelessly to forge strong relationships with members of Congress and the introduction of this legislation shows that our hard work has paid off. Myself and the Tribal Council are dedicated to seeing this legislation pass and are excited to be able to help our citizens in Texas be able to access the healthcare that they need.” The Tribal Council looks forward to a hearing being held for HR 4913 and being able to participate for the passage of this legislation.

The Tribal Council remains dedicated to working to provide access to healthcare to all Tribal members both on and off the reservation.

Tunica-Biloxi Office Update

Due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in our community, the Tunica-Biloxi Offices are temporarily closed. However, your Tribal Council is still working hard to ensure Tribal citizens receive essential and critical services during this closure.

Although Government Offices are closed to the public, departments are working remotely from their homes, with a few essential employees operating in the departments to ensure the needs of our Tribal citizens and their families are continuing to be met. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we continue to navigate this pandemic.

For any questions or needs you may have, please contact the Tribe at info@tunica.org or (318) 253-9767.

Announcement: Office Closure

Due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in our community, we are closing the Tunica-Biloxi Offices until further notice. We will notify citizens when offices reopen. 

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we continue to navigate this pandemic. 

For any questions or needs in the meantime, please contact the Tribe at (318) 253-9767 or info@tunica.org.

Tunica-Biloxi COVID-19 Economic Rescue Program for Tribal-Member Businesses

Tunica-Biloxi Tribe announces the new Tunica-Biloxi COVID Economic Rescue
Program for Tribal-Member Businesses. Qualifying applicants may be eligible for
economic support and/or reimbursement of costs in connection with the COVID-19 public
health emergency. Because funding is limited, a qualifying applicant will receive no more
than $15,000 (amount has to be justified) related to this program. Applicants must complete
the COVID Economic Rescue Program for Tribal-Member Businesses application.

Eligibility for Tribal Member-Owned Businesses
• Businesses must be at least 51% owned by the Tunica-Biloxi Tribal Member.
• The Tribal-Member business has to be the primary source of income for the Tribal
Member household (at least 51% of income has to be derived from the business
• Must have less than 50 part-time or full-time employees prior to March 11, 2021 and
in operation prior to March 11, 2021;
• Must be able to demonstrate they have faced financial hardship due to the COVID-19
public health emergency.

Filing of Application
A tribal member shall request an application from Jessica Barbry, Budget & Data
Analyst, the employee assigned to coordinate this program. Application submissions may
be either emailed, hand-delivered, or mailed to Jessica Barbry. For email submissions,
please send the application to jabarbry@tunica.org. For mail submissions, please submit
the application to the following address:
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana
Attn: Jessica Barbry, Budget & Data Analyst
150 Melacon Road
Marksville, LA 71351